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Immanuel Kant on Peace - Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

Höffe I 314
Peace/Kant/Höffe: In his writing on perpetual peace(1) Kant (...) remains with his purely secular thinking, removed from all theology and all daily politics.
Conflicts: [Kant] does not expect that a basic political element, the conflict, can disappear from the world; rather, one should recognize it, but should provide it with a basic legal and moral foundation.
Preparation for peace: Standing armies [are] to be gradually reduced [and] there is to be no violent interference in the constitution and government of other states (...).
Conditions: [Here] Kant sketches a morally complete theory of public law. Its first article, on constitutional law, regulates the relations of individuals and groups to each other. Here Kant enriches the idea of peace with the political innovation of his epoch, the republic. >Republic/Kant, >">International Law/Kant.
Relations between states: According to the general legal principle of jurisprudence, state-individuals are allowed to do for themselves what they want - provided that their actions can coexist with those of all other state-individuals according to a general law.
Höffe I 315
International treaty: [To achieve this] a global peace community is necessary. This is created by a treaty between the nations and must end all wars forever. According to Kant, a world republic would be needed along the lines of the internal peacekeeping, but it would not be possible to achieve this without a global peace community.
But because the states do not accept the necessary renunciations of sovereignty, he is content with a "negative surrogate", a League of Nations that is expanding more and more. Sceptical of a world republic, the peace treaty does not advocate a world legal order.
Höffe I 318
Aftermath: Thoughts of Kant's peace writing influence the first global association of states for securing world peace and developing international cooperation, the League of Nations (1920-1946), as well as
Höffe I 319
the new foundation for the United Nations. Human dignity, which plays a major role in their charter, essentially follows Kant's understanding of human dignity. Moreover, Kant's understanding extends into many national and international political debates, not least in court decisions of the highest courts not only in Germany, namely the constitutional courts.


1. Kant, Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch, 1795


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
I. Kant
I Günter Schulte Kant Einführung (Campus) Frankfurt 1994
Externe Quellen. ZEIT-Artikel 11/02 (Ludger Heidbrink über Rawls)
Volker Gerhard "Die Frucht der Freiheit" Plädoyer für die Stammzellforschung ZEIT 27.11.03
Höffe I
Otfried Höffe
Geschichte des politischen Denkens München 2016


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2021-01-28
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